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THE DREAM JAR by Bonnie Pryor


by Bonnie Pryor & illustrated by Mark Graham

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-13061-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

The trials of the immigrant get delicate handling from Pryor (Birthday Blizzard, 1993, etc.) in this tale of a Russian family's move to New York City's Lower East Side in the first part of this century. Young Valentina never hears her father sing as he used to in the old country. He toils hard all day in pursuit of a dream: owning his own store. Mama takes on piece work and Valentina's brother, Michael, quits school to add his hard-earned dollars to the glass dream jar. Valentina—too young to work—finds a way to contribute by teaching English to her neighbors at night for ten cents a week. Eventually, the store becomes a reality. The American dream come true, with a cherry on top. Has this gold been mined too often? It's a sweet story, but not entirely original, and it may be the first time that the immigrant experience has looked prettier than an impressionist painting. Graham's soft-edged scenes are so hopeful they nearly burst with expectancy. (Picture book. 5+)